Making good on Governor Deval Patrick’s promise to reject health insurance rate increases deemed excessive, the state Division of Insurance yesterday denied 235 of 274 increases proposed by insurers for plans covering individuals and small businesses.
The rulings, following a review process set in motion by emergency regulations Patrick filed in February, mark the first time the state has used its authority to turn down health premium increases. The action immediately sent ripples through the state health care industry.
Insurers said it would usher in an era of price controls, and vowed to appeal to the state or through the courts — a process that could drag on for months.
“We share the concern about rising health costs, but we don’t think government price controls will solve the problem,’’ said Jay McQuaide, vice president at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer.